August 14, 2012
Georgia Parham 812-334-4261 x 1203
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Announces More Than $33 Million in Grants to Support Land Acquisition and Conservation Planning for Endangered Species
Two Projects Funded in Wisconsin
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service today announced nearly $33 million in grants to 21 states to support conservation planning and acquisition of vital habitat for threatened and endangered fish, wildlife and plants.
The grants, awarded through the Cooperative Endangered Species Conservation Fund, will benefit numerous species, ranging from the Peninsular bighorn sheep to Kirtland’s warbler. Among funded projects are two in Wisconsin, one benefiting the endangered Kirtland’s warbler, and the other to help the endangered Hine’s emerald dragonfly.
“Our strong partnerships with states, landowners and local communities are the key to the successful protection and recovery of threatened and endangered species, and these grants will fund important conservation work,” said Secretary Salazar. “While dozens of imperiled species will benefit from these efforts, improving the health of our land and water will also help the people, communities and economies that depend on these resources.”
Authorized by Section 6 of the Endangered Species Act, these competitive grants enable states to work with private landowners, conservation groups and other government agencies to initiate conservation planning efforts and acquire and protect habitat to support the conservation of threatened and endangered species.
“Ensuring the survival of imperiled species depends on long-term partnerships and voluntary landowner participation,” said U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Director Dan Ashe. “The vital funding provided by these grants is matched by the states and leveraged to great advantage in helping conserve and recover some of the most imperiled wildlife in the country.”
This year, the Cooperative Endangered Species Fund provides approximately $9.5 million through the Habitat Conservation Planning Assistance Grants Program, $15 million through the Habitat Conservation Plan Land Acquisition Grants Program, and $8.5 million through the Recovery Land Acquisition Grants Program. The three programs were established to help advance creative partnerships for imperiled species conservation recovery.
Habitat Conservation Plans (HCPs) are agreements between a landowner and the Service. These agreements allow a landowner to undertake otherwise lawful activities on their property, even if they may impact listed species, when that landowner agrees to conservation measures designed to minimize and mitigate the impact of those actions. HCPs may also be developed by a county or state to cover certain activities of all landowners within their jurisdiction and may address multiple species.
Under the HCP Land Acquisition Grants Program, the Service provides grants to states or territories for land acquisition that complements the conservation objectives of approved HCPs. In Wisconsin, the Department of Natural Resources will receive $497,600 to protect 3,326 acres of land within the Glacial Lake Wisconsin Recovery Unit for the endangered Karner blue butterfly. This acquisition permanently protects this area from development and creates opportunities to manage for the disturbance-dependent Karner blue, as well as the endangered Kirtland’s warbler and other associated barrens ecosystem species.
The Recovery Land Acquisition Grants Program provides funds to states and territories to acquire habitat for endangered and threatened species with approved recovery plans. The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources is awarded $345,000 to acquire 68 acres of land to benefit the endangered Hine’s emerald dragonfly and a threatened plant, the dwarf lake iris. Lands are located adjacent to the Mud Lake State Wildlife Area and Natural Area and will be managed as part of the Ridges Sanctuary. Ridges Sanctuary contains the largest known breeding population of the Hine’s emerald dragonfly and supports many rare species including the dwarf lake iris.
The HCP Planning Assistance Grants Program provides grants to states and territories to support the development of HCPs through funding of baseline surveys and inventories, document preparation, outreach and similar planning activities.
For example, a grant of $600,000 will support the State of Pennsylvania’s efforts to prepare a state-wide HCP that will apply an adaptive management strategy to minimize and mitigate the impacts of forest management activities on state lands to Indiana bats. In addition, the State of Florida will use a grant of $300,250 to initiate the planning of a county-wide HCP for scrub habitats in Highlands County to benefit the Florida scrub-jay, eastern indigo snake and other dry scrub species. Implementation of an HCP in Highlands County marks a significant step forward for scrub conservation in the heart of Florida’s central ridge, and enhances similar efforts made in neighboring counties.
A complete list of the 2012 grant awards under these programs (Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance Number 15.615) is available online at: http://www.fws.gov/endangered/grants/index.html.
The Endangered Species Act provides a critical safety net for America’s native fish, wildlife, and plants. The Service is working to actively engage conservation partners and the public in the search for improved and innovative ways to conserve and recover imperiled species. To learn more about the Endangered Species Program, visit http://www.fws.gov/endangered/.
The mission of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is working with others to conserve, protect and enhance fish, wildlife, plants and their habitats for the continuing benefit of the American people. We are both a leader and trusted partner in fish and wildlife conservation, known for our scientific excellence, stewardship of lands and natural resources, dedicated professionals and commitment to public service. For more information on our work and the people who make it happen, visit www.fws.gov.
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